By Ms. Kristin Bradley (IMCOM)May 20, 2010
HOHENFELS, Germany - Though the building is not new, the Chaplain Family Life Center at U.S. Army Garrison Hohenfels hosted a ribbon cutting and open house, April 22, a ceremonial re-opening to commemorate a refreshed interior and a series of new programs to support Hohenfels Soldiers and families.
"What we want people to take away from this is one-stop shopping for pastoral care and training," Chaplain (Maj.) Robert Brott, deputy garrison chaplain and senior family life chaplain, said at the ceremony.
"Family life training is a combat multiplier in that it keeps our families resilient. We know that keeping families strong allows that Soldier on the tip of the spear to do their job," said Brott.
"The Family Life Center creates a space for God to create trust and a feeling of belonging," said Chaplain (Lt. Col.) Frank O'Grady.
Creating that space has taken some hard work over the past few months, said Angelique Dilmore, family life coordinator.
To create a more welcoming atmosphere inside the building, all the interior walls were repainted last summer as part of an Eagle Scout project by high school student Zachary Wood and a team of volunteers. This spring Dilmore said the staff cleaned out the facility and placed artwork and decorations to give the building a cozier feel.
Those were just cosmetic touches however on top of more substantial changes that have recently taken place, said Dilmore.
The center has increased its program offerings to include monthly Spouse's Luncheons and Dad's Luncheons that have featured guest speakers from on-post services such as the New Parent Support Program at Army Community Service and social work services from the health clinic.
Dilmore said they have gotten especially positive feedback from the Spouse's Luncheons, something she personally understands the need for.
"People say it doesn't feel like a class, it feels like a group of friends talking. Things like this helped me a lot when my husband was deployed and we wanted to give that to them (other deployed spouses) too," said Dilmore, who explained that the luncheons began as a program for spouses of deployed service members but have expanded to include all spouses.
The center also offers Dad's Luncheons designed to help fathers stay connected with their children after deployments and through the fast pace of life at Hohenfels, said Dilmore.
Though some programs and even the name of the center indicate a focus on families, the center also caters to single Soldiers with retreats, training and counseling.
According to Brott, they also hope to begin offering special day trips for single Soldiers on some weekends, "Duty Days with God," that would take the Soldiers off post for center programs.
At the heart of all those services and programs is a basic presupposition that while the chaplains and social workers help guide the way, God ultimately does the healing, said Brott.
"We offer faith-based counseling services open to any Department of Defense ID card holder, civilian or Soldier," said Brott, though he said that doesn't mean a one size fits all approach.
"For people that don't exercise their faith or are not up-to-date on their faith, we still cater to them too," said Brott. "We meet them where they are. If someone who comes in for counseling is active in their church we'll make the services very faith based, but we're cognizant to meet them where they are. We'll not force anything, but lead them to the Lord in their time and through their choice."
To learn more about the services available at the Chaplain Family Life Center, call DSN 466-3473 or visit Building 747 by the commissary.